By Cecilio Andrade
Before discussing this simple code from Colonel Jeff Cooper I remind you, I must make clear several points that are often misleading when explaining or applying this color code.
We are not going through life; we cannot go, thinking “now I must go orange, now I turn to yellow, now…” The reality is that this color code only tells us in what situation our mindsets, alone in every scan we make of our environment. I do not think about colors, but I use them when describing, explaining, or commenting on where I was in each series of given moments. Go consciously thinking about colors and their changes… Don’t you think that we would be far from observing the environment? Consider it as what it is, a graphical definition of the situation in which our brain is placed in each given moment.
We have four colors in this code:
- White, without warning, unprepared.
- Yellow, a relaxed attention mindset, observing the environment.
- Orange, alert, we detect an anomaly and increase and focus our attention and predisposition.
- Red, there is no longer a simple alert, there is action, either to prepare or to defend ourselves, and we take action.
The passage of each transition is not so simple as from one to another in an orderly way, far from it. Let’s take a look at a couple of demonstrative examples:
- You are at home, in slippers, freshly showered, with a glass of wine, calmly watching the television after a very busy afternoon, condition? White obviously. Suddenly you hear on the street, the radio of a vehicle with a strident music, without thinking we pass to a yellow condition. After a moment you hear a car braking abruptly and some strangers shouting, you decide to get up and look out the window, and maybe you are in an orange situation. You have not yet reached the window when you hear very strong/loud and continuous sounds, along with different voices. You may already be in a red condition when you look out the window. And then you notice that they are only a group of teenagers, undoubtedly drunk, who have hit their vehicle and are now trying to straighten the fender so it does not rub with the tire. All this accompanied by the drunken shouts of the companions. Will you go down to orange? Surely, and you will continue in that condition until the vehicles move away and you return to your sofa, television and glass of wine. Then you will keep your status in yellow for a while, until you slowly relax and reach the white condition again.
Let’s look at the same scenario with a few minor modifications.
- Again, you are in your house, in slippers, freshly showered, with a glass of wine, calmly watching the television after a very busy afternoon, condition? White again obviously. Suddenly a strong blow bursts your door and you see several armed individuals with their faces covered entering your home. In what condition do you jump into? Red status, without a doubt, although this jump in status is not as simple as it seems to capture it here, we will see in future articles.
It is the same environment, in a different situation, unreal? Judge it. Now each of you can play to different situations of all kinds, family, social, professional, and other, with this color code. It will greatly help you to improve your ability to recognize and observe your environment.